It's not business...it's personal | Austin Boudoir Studio

I tried to ride out the flood of New Year blog posts and really contemplate on mine (that, and give all my readers a chance to not be annoyed by so many New Year posts.) I'm not a New Year resolution girl.  It's now 2017, and I'm still the same girl that's making a giant pan of 5 cheese macaroni and cheese for lunch on January 2nd. 

I set my goals year round, I truly do. I set monthly goals for my business (which I'm really good at achieving), I set quarterly personal goals (THOSE sometimes...err...often fall behind...but I'm working on that), and I keep the most extensive and organized to-do list I've ever seen for every day tasks (though often forgetting to add things like "take a shower" and "work out").

One ongoing to-do list item I always keep at the top of my list is a reminder for me and it says "It's not business...it's personal."  If you've been following me for a long time, you may remember that my old photography website had that phrase written at the bottom of every single page. 

Obviously, this *IS* in fact a business, and I do operate it as such on most levels. But the one facet of my business that isn't business is ME. It's my relationships with my clients. It's my passion for my work. It's my love affair with the stories that each client tells me.  It's how seriously I take each and every customer's review of my services. It's my dedication to making sure that every person has the warm and fuzzies about their experience. It's my desire to continue to do something for a living that I'm SO passionate about without majorly sacrificing my time with my family. 

KEEPING.IT.PERSONAL is the reason I don't have a (probably much needed) large staff of additional photographers, virtual assistants to answer my emails for me, a sales person doing my photo reveals, and someone else running my social media accounts.  It's the reason that sometimes I rock a messy top knot that contains far more dry shampoo than hair.  I have had to actively try to keep it small. And to be honest, it's outgrowing me. It's become bigger than I can handle on my own with just myself and an assistant.  But like any business, I need to continuously adapt, and I will strive to do so while keeping.it.personal. 

While I most definitely have help, *I* am the only person that is fully invested in this business of mine. It's a part of me.  And in such an intimate line of work, I find it to be utterly important that you all get to know me. I want you to feel like you know me before you meet me. I want you to feel completely at ease, like you are working with an old friend.  I want to be the one to sit with you as you see your images for the first time and get all watery eyed. I want to be the one that gets more excited than you are to see your images blown up huge and hung on your wall.

Ok, ok, so maybe that makes me a wee bit selfish. But I genuinely feel the personal touch adds so much to the experience for my clients.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think there's anything wrong with not having a hands-on approach in many businesses. In fact, my apparel line Blonde Black and White is one that I dedicate about an hour a week to, I outsource just about every aspect. And my husband coincidentally just publicly announced yesterday that his fitness studio Heat Bootcamp is now officially a franchise.  There's most definitely a time and a place for expansion, but for Kara Marie Boudoir, that is not in the foreseeable future. 

Sometimes people will stop me in restaurants/grocery stores/coffee shops and say "HEY! I follow you on Instagram! I love your work!". I think "Who? ME!? You recognized ME!?!?!" *commence crawling into a hole in embarrassment and trying to remember what the last embarrassing thing I posted was...*  But then I realize that's a pretty awesome thing. I definitely put myself out there a little bit (lot bit) more than most other photographers. And I'm ok with that...in fact that's very intentional for all the reasons I've already listed. 

So, in 2017, I want to officially pledge my commitment to KEEPING.IT.PERSONAL. 

Thank you all SO, SO much for the most incredible year KMB has seen. Thank you for keeping me booked. Thank you for referring your friends. Thank you for every single "like" and Instagram comment. Thank you for understanding my mission to helping women feel a way they haven't felt in a long time (or ever). Thank you for your grace when I go a month without blogging because I'm swamped with edits. Thank you to each and every woman who has trusted me with their boudoir experience. I don't take the privilege lightly. 

I ADORE YOU. 

XOX

KARA MARIE

 

New Orleans Charm | Destination Boudoir Photographer

My studio is a dream...I absolutely adore it. The light is just perfection, the concrete floors are reflective and swoon worthy, and it's polluted with positive juju...you can feel it when you walk in. 

HOWEVA--- shooting in other places is so creatively refreshing for me. I keep a VERY full studio schedule, so I don't get out much (there has never been a truer statement in any sense of the phrase.), but when I get to travel for a destination boudoir shoot, a little extra magic happens. 

When I first heard from Miss M, it was 4 days before what ended up being our photo shoot date. She lived in a knockout historic apartment in New Orleans but was moving in less than 6 weeks and wanted to know if there was any way I would be able to travel to her for a boudoir shoot before she moved. Typically based on my nutty schedule, this wouldn't have been a possibility with such short notice. HOWEVER-- the boudoir gods(eh hem...goddesses) were looking down on us. I just happened to be scheduled to speak at a boudoir photographer's conference IN New Orleans THAT weekend. Talk about dumb luck!

I rearranged my schedule and changed my flight to arrive a day sooner, and VOILA-- boudoir miracle made.

With zero time to plan, Miss M was ready for her session in a few short days. 

Honestly, I'm inspired shooting ANYWHERE with good light. It could be a giant cardboard box. Butttt when I walked in to her apartment, I wasn't prepared for the gorgeousness that awaited me.

#1- This woman...sitting there...barely a lick of makeup on yet, was just GLOWING from the inside out. She had SUCH an amazing spirit about her, and I KNEW this was going to go spectacularly. Attitude is translated so loudly in every photograph I make, and she had the best one!

#2-HOLY CRAP her apartment. The light was pouring in from the most beautiful floor to ceiling windows that had the best window treatments. The whole place was obviously very expertly designed and furnished...and I knew that working with such an incredibly awesome client PLUS having such an incredibly amazing setting.... look.out.

I could have shot all day (and was quite sad that I couldn't, actually!)

Miss M on her boudoir experience:

"Having the opportunity to embrace my body in a sexy, tasteful and creative way was such an amazing and eye opening experience.

Not only did I push myself to do something I have always thought about and wanted to do but I absolutely love the images.

I wondered what I was going to look like after a shoot like this and I could not be happier with the end result :)"

"I think anytime you do something new or test your yourself in some way, it affects you.

The boudoir experience helped me see myself in a different light and having photos of myself and my body that I am proud of is invigorating.

It shows and reminds me of how my fiancee sees me daily. I wouldn't change a thing about the experience." -Miss M

Miss M dabbles in art (read: She's pretty insanely amazing! There were a couple of her paintings in her home and they were breathtaking!) and mentioned that she is so intrigued by the female form, and, in particular, the curve of the back. I wanted to make sure I created a lot of images that featured her figure, and that long beautiful curve of the spine. 

I was truly inspired by every nook of the apartment. The light coming into the study was magnificent and I knew I wanted to create something unique there.

The living room was masculine and fascinating. There wasn't any natural light in there, which always presents a challenge....for a natural light photographer ;) But it was the kind of living room that just NEEDED to be photographed, especially with Miss M gracing it. So I pushed my camera to it's limits and I'm so freaking glad I did. 

^^^ That one there. THAT ONE is my favorite shot from the entire set. It represents what I aspire to create for each client. The black and white tones, the composition, and her figure framed perfectly within it. THIS. ONTHEFREAKINGWALL. BIG. 

These final images just make my heart explode. They turned out exactly how I envisioned them, maybe even slightly better. I love the artistry, the fine art feel of her figure in the window. It's all just so...AHHH. 

I truly cannot say enough about this experience.  What my blog audience/social media following doesn't always realize is that EACH interaction with EACH and every client is an experience for me, too. Hearing everyone's stories and the reasons they are doing their session....hearing how their session has affected them. It's ALL so personal. It's personal for each client and it's personal for me. 

Ironically, I attribute much of my business' success to my whole "It's not business, it's personal" mantra. Because these aren't just photos. These are experiences. These are people. And I'll bet you can relate to them more than you think. 

Thank you to Miss M for the warm NOLA welcome, for letting your positive energy boom throughout your entire session and photo reveal, and for letting me share your words and images! 

READY TO STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE IN 2017? LET'S CHAT, DAHHLING!

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Embracing your sexy | Austin Boudoir Studio | Boudoir Portraiture

Another story I hear often from my clients is that they often feel cute or maybe even "pretty", but hardly ever sexy. That's one of our curses as females. We don't see our potential. We put ourselves in "cute" boxes and when someone suggests that we are sexy, we laugh it off. No way. Me? Nope. 

One of my biggest strengths is showing women how sexy they are. I want them to embrace themselves as powerful and, GASP, sexual beings. It's much easier for us to grasp the concept that we are hard workers, decent moms, devoted wives. But the sexy thing is harder for us to recognize. 

But I promise, if you come in to my Austin boudoir studio for a boudoir experience, I'll show you. The shoot won't feel like you're trying too hard to be someone else. In fact, you may even think "There's NO WAY this photo is sexy!" or "There's NO WAY I'm doing this right."  The magic of it is that I'm about to show each client her sexy AF self and they don't even expect it.

austinboudoirstudio_boudoirportrait

I think so many people book boudoir experiences with me thinking "Well, I'm not going to look as amazing as the other women on her website, but if I can walk away with one good picture of myself I'll be happy." And those are the clients that are absolutely awestruck by the images in front of them at their photo reveal. 

Miss M had a specific aesthetic in mind that, to me, resembled magazine cover portraits. She had a very regal and poised look about her, and we worked together beautifully to create an elegant set of portraiture and boudoir images. Read about her experience below:

"Kara creates a space that makes it easy to feel like a total badass wearing nothing but your own skin. I walked out of the shoot feeling confident, driven and fearless. The whole experience was absolutely fabulous and it has been so empowering knowing that I did it for myself."

"In a lot of other pictures I have of myself, I can be described as looking "sweet" or "pretty." This experience is exhilaratingly different. When I look at my boudoir pictures, I'm empowered to see myself in a new light that reflects so much more of who I am and what I want to be."

"I see so much more that a sweet pretty girl. I see the story of a woman who is beautiful, brave, strong and interesting, a woman who has enough confidence to unapologetically love and accept herself as she is."

Wrapped in Nothing | Miss S Part II | Austin Boudoir Studio

I have really grown to be madly in love with tasteful nude imagery. There is nothing more raw, more natural, and...in my opinion...more rewarding for the client, than to have such timeless photos of yourself and nothing but yourself. 

Generally my clients come in, knowing that nude images are an option, and at the beginning of the session when we're reviewing her wardrobe, she gets shy and flushed and suggests maybe if she's comfortable towards the end she'd maybe sorta kinda like to possibly do some photos without any wardrobe.

It's always so amazing to watch the transformation between the shy girl thinking she could possibly do this with enough champagne, to the badass confident woman halfway through the shoot that says "You know what!? Screw this lingerie!"  Enter the classy nudes.

I know why clients are a little intimidated by the boudoir experience process. The women in my photos look SO confident, so sexy, like they really owned the shit out of their photo shoot. Practically pros, right!?

During your photo session, other than holding pretty uncomfortable poses for several minutes at a time, you'll be thinking "This can't possibly look sexy." and "Oh none of these are going to turn out.". It doesn't FEEL like a sexy experience while you're doing it. FUN...hell yes. But sexy?! Not really.  I'm not speaking in a seductive voice while using sexy verbiage in a dimly lit room with candle light and Marvin Gaye playing (although, I do believe "Let's Get it On" is on one of my playlists...we usually just laugh when it comes on.). 

NOT AT ALL.  The room is bright AF, generally some upbeat music playing, and it's pretty much an hour long chit chat with me about every day life with the occasional "Ok, now arch your back a tiny bit more and give me a good exhale out your mouth.....PERFECT!!! You're doing awesome!!!"

It's generally only 5 minutes into the shoot before women start to realize "hey, this is WAY easier than I thought it was going to be!"

So, trust me, the idea of taking off all of your everything in front of a stranger's camera IS scary to think about. But I assure you, it's business as usual for me and you can't scare me with "all this" (what women usually say while motioning to their bodies in reference to being nude), and, in fact, challenge accepted and you will LOVE your nude images, likely more than your clothed ones. I will pose you to perfection, I will use strategic lighting, I will coach you through every minute of it, and you will be SO GLAD YOU DID THIS!

Round of applause to this badass woman for taking it all off and being oh-so-proud to be documented wrapped in nothing. She actually didn't need any champagne and knew from the beginning she wanted to do nude artistry. And the final product reflected her confidence in that decision!

GET IT, GIRRRRRRLLLLL!!!!!

WHETHER YOU WANT TO TAKE IT ALL OFF OR KEEP IT ALL ON, IF YOU'RE READY TO FEEL AMAZING IN YOUR OWN SKIN, LET'S CHAT!

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The anonymous Miss "A" | Austin Boudoir Studio

A friend of a recent client, Miss "A" used her friend's amazing experience (and a peek at her images) as her gentle nudge into booking her boudoir session with me. She had never really heard that boudoir was a "thing", but it intrigued her and she knew it would make a killer anniversary gift for her husband. 

She came to me rather nervous and not knowing if she had what it took to be a sex pot in front of the camera. If you follow my blog at all, you know that I preach that EVERYONE has what it takes. It's up to the photographer to bring it out of them. 

I can’t think of anything that I would change! As my first experience with a boudoir shoot I can say everything was perfect.

The whole experience was so relaxed. From the make-up and hair time to the end of the shoot. Kara and her team are so easy to be around with and they truly make you feel as if you are one of their friends just hanging out at the studio.
— Miss "A"

If you're reading this, you probably DO know that boudoir is a "thing"...but what I hope you know by viewing my work specifically, is that it's meant to be a celebration of YOU. It ABSOLUTELY makes the best gift (like...ever.), but don't forget how much of a boost this gives. 

"It's not about seducing men. It's about embracing womanhood."

Are you ready to celebrate yourself? I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's long overdue. Let's chat, dahhling!

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My Man Brain and my Woman Brain got Married and Made These Images | Austin Boudoir Photographer

She kept the secret when neither one of us, I don't think, thought she would. She had the digital files and album in-hand well before her wedding anniversary and was bursting at the seams. 

On their anniversary, Miss "K" and her husband were out-and-about in downtown Austin. She excused herself to the bathroom and text him one of the photos.  When she walked back to the table, his face said it all. Absolutely priceless.  Throughout the night, she continued to text him a photo from her boudoir session here and there. Eventually she handed him the album.

Ever since, he's been hiding in the corner away from their daughter thumbing through the album with a shit grin on his face.

I LOVE HEARING THESE STORIES. 

I guess you could say it's a good thing that I've got BOTH a man brain and a woman brain. I am a firm believer in knowing your own strengths, and I know that one of mine is to be able to view a woman's body from both male and female perspectives. I love being able to create images that appeal to both.

Strive for perfection: That is what I was taught growing up. Yes, of course, that could have a positive impact on a person, but for me it was the opposite.

I grew up thinking that my body had to look perfect at all times. I became a gym rat and nothing was ever perfect enough when it came to looking in the mirror. If I saw a photo of myself I would immediately look for the flaw rather than embrace the beauty.

I have since learned that perfection does not exist. We are given one body and one shot in this imperfect world. We are like a canvas, full of different paint, it is how we see that beauty on the canvas that matters.
When I left your studio after my photo reveal I cried like a baby in my car. As crazy as that sounds, I couldn’t believe that it was me in the photos.

You have changed the way I look at myself and have forever made an impact on me. Thank you! I l LOVE reading your other clients’ stories! You truly have made a difference in so many women.

I will be back in the future!

I don't know what I did in my past or current life to deserve such profoundly amazing women as clients, but I'm so grateful for them. Miss "K" was no exception. Her enthusiasm was amazing. She had all the concerns about herself and the shoot that all of my other clients have. We worked together to get past that and create a collection of images that left both her AND her husband smitten. 

Click Chick relaunch + brand spanking new site! | Austin TX Boudoir Photographer

It's here, it's here, it's REALLY HERE! I am SO over-the-moon excited for this!! 

 For YEARS I have been absolutely obsessed with boudoir photography. I adore it. I shoot it all the time. I live it. I breathe it.  If I could smother it on toast and eat it, I would.  Since the start of 2013, I have been gradually limiting the number of other types of photo shoots I've been taking on (weddings, engagements, and families, etc), and have really been focusing on narrowing my specialization.

As of TODAY, Click Chick Images is re-launching, re-directing, re-birthing into Click Chick Boudoir!!!  

I've decided that 2014 was the year to rebuild a website to exclusively showcase my beauty & boudoir work.  It's not just a blog anymore, and it's not just a small gallery on my website.  It's my bread and butter. I can tell you that I am an extremely impulsive person...so the fact that I didn't jump into boudoir full-force years ago when I first discovered my passion for it really shows you how much time and thought I put into this change in direction. 

 

You know what I discovered as I progressed through year after year of photography business? I'm not good at everything. This may seem like an obvious statement, but to many photographers (like me at one time), being a one-stop-shop seems like a great idea! Weddings, engagements, families, corporate events, product photos, fashion, construction sites?? "YES, sure! I can do that!". Rookie mistake. But throughout the years of fine-tuning my skills and shooting literally EVERYTHING under the sun, I slowly discovered what I loved and what I loathed. I discovered what I was fantastic at, what I was *ok* at with a little extra work, and what I was horrible at.  I slowly uncovered my niche...and that is: WOMEN.  I.am.good.at.WOMEN. I'm good at making women feel comfortable. I'm good at making women feel beautiful. I'm good at making women LOOK beautiful. I'm good at helping women discover their confidence.  Beauty and Boudoir photography is where it's at for me. The saying "Stick to what you're good at!" echoed in my head over and over for years.  I found that when I accepted a booking for something that wasn't my speciality, I was disappointed in my own work. It just didn't make sense for me to try to be something I wasn't. I am not a commercial photographer. I am not a family photographer.  I am not a corporate event photographer. 


Before I go too much further....I am going to tackle the question that everyone I let in on my little secret asked me with puppy dog eyes..."So...no more WEDDINGS!?!???".   Here's the deal:  I still love weddings. I still have a full year of weddings on the books. I will still continue to give each and every client my 100% best, as always. I will still consider accepting a very, very limited number of bookings for past clients and referrals.  This is not the death of Click Chick Images. It's the re-birth :) It's the shift in specialization.

I want to concentrate on being the absolute BEST at one thing, rather than being pretty good at several.  

 

SO THERE YOU HAVE IT, y'all!! I am SO excited for all of the amazing things to come! I have so many big plans in the works that I could have never accomplished by spreading myself so thin. I cannot wait to continue to make women realize how awesome they really are.

Go ahead and browse through the new site...get acquainted ;) 

You can continue to follow my Facebook pages to see my upcoming wedding and engagement work.  You'll also notice that I will be posting a lot more boudoir-related content. However, I will let you know that I fully intend to keep my social media posts consistent with my brand and style of boudoir:  Classy, tasteful, and beautiful. Never trashy.  :)

Cheers, y'all!

~Kara Marie

 

P.S. To celebrate my new "COMING OUT", I am offering $100 OFF any boudoir booking in the month of February!  YESSSS!  

 

 

If you are interested in booking a beauty or boudoir shoot, simply fill out the form below and I will get back to you right away!

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Valentine's Boudoir Special! | Austin TX Boudoir Photographer

Believe it or not, it's already time to start thinking about VALENTINE'S DAY...that is, if you'd like to give your significant other THE best Valentine's gift EVER! Click Chick Boudoir is running an early bird Valentine's special from December 9th to January 9th! The special includes the shoot, the editing, the online proofing gallery, AND a premium 6x6 hardcover bedside boudoir album all for only $250! That's $125 in savings! This offer is good for the Austin TX and surrounding areas only! Be sure to book ASAP, limited time slots are available!

For more information on boudoir photography, feel free to browse around the boudoir blog! You can also view more boudoir images on the Click Chick Images website!  For other information or to reserve your time slot, visit Chick@ClickChickImages.com